Friday 14 July 2023

School district can't prevent trans students from using restrooms of their choice, federal judge rules

 A federal judge has ruled that a Wisconsin school district cannot prevent transgender students from using restrooms of their choice.

What are the details?

The judge issued a temporary restraining order last week after a mother and her 11-year-old trans child filed a civil rights complaint against the Mukwonago Area School District, WISN-TV reported. The district is about 30 minutes southwest of Milwaukee. 

The station said the 11-year-old, soon to be a sixth-grader, was born a boy but began identifying as a girl — and using the girls' restrooms at school — in the first grade. The student was allowed to use boys' or girls' restrooms from the third grade through the fifth grade, the mother said in the complaint, the station added.

The district last month created a policy requiring students to use restrooms matching their biological sex, WISN reported.

So the student was told to begin using boys' restrooms or a single-person restroom in the administrative area for summer school, the station added. 

The complaint adds that the district's policy is causing the student to "suffer severe emotional distress and mental health effects, including thoughts of self-harm, nightmares, embarrassment, social isolation and stigma, and lowered self-esteem," WISN reported.

The judge's ruling indicates that the district can't enforce its ban or discipline the student for using a preferred restroom while the case plays out in federal court, the station added. 

"There's nothing wrong with what she's doing," the mother told WISN. "But what's happening to her is wrong." The station added that the mother doesn't want to be identified because her child is going through enough.

"For her, it was a mess," the mother added to the station. "I get that she's different, and people don't understand. I get that part. As a parent, I understand it's difficult when something's different, but for her it's just been heartbreaking. She's being bullied, she's being picked on."

WISN said the district's restroom policy came despite the mother providing a note from a doctor verifying the student's gender dysphoria.

"I think what a lot of people are forgetting in all of this is she's just an 11-year-old kid," the mother added to the station. "She wants to go to school, and she wants to play with her friends. And if in the midst of all of it she has to go to the bathroom, she just wants to be able to go. Like, that's kind of where we're at. And you know, as her mom, you know I'm prepared to fight this battle for her. I think any parent would fight a battle for their kids."

In a statement, Superintendent Joseph Koch indicated the district will continue the battle in court, WISN reported: "The District will continue to defend Policy 5514 in the interest of protecting the safety, privacy, and wellness of all students."

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